We continue from Japan.
You’ll see the Funnel Cakes stand just past the American Adventure Pavilion on the Japan side. Hops and Barley is behind it with the draft beer outlet, Block & Hans, also just out of sight on our left. You would think that in ten years I would have a better picture of the thing, but at least we’ve placed it in context. If Florida is (hopefully) about to sink into the ocean, one wonders if the Funnel Cakes stand will slide further and further towards what is still the Morocco Pavilion. They could always switch to baklava as a base.
During the Food and Wine Festival, a $9.50 “Mini Candied Bacon S’mores Funnel Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream ” is added to the roster. Note that it is not eligible for a snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan, should it be reinstated before the Festival ends in….November. Despite the lack of the Dining Plan being available, we’ve still seen Disney print its Festival menus over the last year with snack credit logos for eligible items, which seems to point to the company being just as clueless about anticipated demand and what it will be able to offer as anyone else.
We’ll take a short respite from the joy that is repaying the loan on all of those Food and Wine Festival “bites” to take a look at current crowd levels, how we can maximize our summer days in front of the 50th anniversary changing everything on October 1st, and see what kinds of opportunities during the day we might have to enjoy short waits…if any.
The chart above shows the average weekly wait across 17 Magic Kingdom attractions that aren’t Splash Mountain dating back to last year’s reopening. Back at the end of May of this year (really just about two months ago, even if it “feels” like ten years), you could expect to wait about 21 minutes per attraction, down from the 30+ minute averages that we saw last fall. Even with higher attendance this year, Disney’s increases in attraction capacity gained by filling more seats on vehicles and rows in shows tended to drive down waits…at least until the company increased the number of Park Passes it distributed each day to compensate. Basically, Disney invited 10,000 more people for dinner, but only had 6,000 chairs.
We haven’t spent much time covering touring strategy lately for a wide variety of reasons. The first being that whatever advice on crowds and wait times I offer this week will likely be irrelevant by next week as crowds and waits climb. Every time things seem to stabilize, with three or four weeks of days with similar waits, we’ve seen another spike or (more rarely) dive. During the week of July 4th, which would historically be the busiest week in July, Magic Kingdom’s average wait was about 30 minutes per attraction. On precedent, it would make sense to consider that week’s numbers as a potential peak, and work our way back as we plan out what we should be able to accomplish. If we plan for the worst, our day should only go more smoothly. However, just three weeks later, average wait times jumped 50%, to 45 minutes. Across ten attractions, that means spending 2.5 hours longer in line during a week that has been less busy each of the last ten years.
We continue from Greece.
Japan returns waterside across from the rest of the Pavilion.
The Teriyaki Chicken Bun is the only returning item from last year.
And it actually wasn’t an original item. Disney switched out the Donburi above about a week into the Festival in favor of the less expensive Bun. But never fear, Japan is giving shrimp another go. We’re just trying to use a hot dog bun instead of a bowl this year. It certainly sounds promising.
We continue from Morocco and Tangierine Café.
We continue on with what we can probably refer to as Mediterranean Avenue for the time being as Greece takes up residence inside of the old Morocco booth this year.
Greece has been kicked around a bit over the years, moving from one side of the World Showcase to the other, depending on where there’s room, and considering their recent financial woes, probably wherever rent is cheapest. The Marketplace took a break a few years ago to pool together some Euro, disappearing in its entirety in favor of culinary delights such as the Italy. I think we’re all happy to see its prodigal return.
Tangierine Café, Morocco’s longtime quick service reopened as home to the Food and Wine Festival offerings this year. Seating is available all around the Pavilion and Disney has opened Restaurant Marrakesh for additional seating opportunities. Since we’re somewhere around the middle of our walk around World Showcase (I hope), this is a good opportunity to grab some waters and relax while seated in air-conditioning. I haven’t left yet. Here’s the menu:
If you had told me at the beginning of last year that Tangierine Café would shutter, Restaurant Marrakesh would be closed indefinitely, and Disney would take over for a bankrupt Pavilion, I probably would have believed you. Morocco was probably just too authentic for your average tourist to give much thought, and there was nothing in the back like an attraction or show. Just a windowless restaurant to walk around before coming out the other side. Since Disney took over, just about everything is new.